My teaching, is it getting worse?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Immy, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Immy

    Immy Guest

    Oct 9, 2017

    I am in my 4th year of teaching. I am teaching mixed ability classes. We have had a lot of changes and I am working non-stop. I feel as though my teaching has gotten worse. There are students in my class who seem to really lack respect. I feel as though I am doing and trying my best but don't know what else I can do.

    I have really lost my confidence and seem to have gotten things wrong in lessons - which is where it stems from. It started with A level and getting it wrong, and now it is taking a long time to get the respect back.
    Also we need to do more maths and my maths is not naturally great - so I can get things muddled and the really smart kids pick up on it.

    I feel rubbish most days. I ended the year well I thought and started it well, but I don't know how long I can keep going like this for. 4 years in. Constant work and changes. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to just give up but I am really struggling, similar to my first year of teaching.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Do you just grit your teeth and try and get through it?
    I do feel that as teachers we put ourselves in the firing line, and if we aren't perfect there is very little understanding. Who on earth can be perfect from the get go? Maybe there needs to be more training? But there isn't enough money for that :s!!

    I am very lost this year.
  3. IcyRock

    IcyRock Rookie

    Aug 18, 2017
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    Oct 9, 2017

    I don't have many words of wisdom because I'm a first year teacher and I'm in the same boat. However, I do understand and want you to know you're not alone. I'd say prioritize regaining your confidence. As you said, the kids are picking up on it. Then, call back into remembrance those things you did in year 2 and 3 that worked. That can increase your confidence right there knowing you were successful in your past. Then read up on or view anything you can on regaining classroom respect and teaching math successfully. One book that was recommended to me was, "Teach Like a Champion."
  4. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

    Apr 24, 2012
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    Oct 9, 2017

    We all screw up regularly and do our best not to screw up the children in the process.

    One thing I would say is by year 4 if your math ability still isn't where it needs to be, that's what you need to be working on.
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  5. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

    Jun 21, 2007
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    Oct 9, 2017

    What subject are you teaching?

    One piece of advice I can give you (from my own experiences) Please give yourself permission to make mistakes! No one is perfect. Embrace those missteps and use those as opportunities for student learning. Once I allowed myself to let my students see the human side of me, I felt that I was more relaxed and the relationships I have with my students improved greatly, as my classroom became a place where we could all learn from each other. My upper level students enjoy sharing their insights and love the collaborative atmosphere.
    The lower level classes are so afraid to be incorrect that they often will not participate in class. My "mistakes" are picked up on by some students who will then question me - initiating the discussion and participation I wanted in the first place.
  6. rpan

    rpan Cohort

    Mar 19, 2017
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    Oct 10, 2017

    If you make a mistake in class you should own it, if they call you out on the mistake they learn a lesson from it. It's nothing to be ashamed of. I have a student who constantly asks me questions about quantum physics, a topic I know next to nothing about. I just tell him I don't know the answer and he teaches me a thing or two.
    However, if you are making many curriculum mistakes because you don't know the content, it can become a problem. I don't mean to sound harsh but this is the reality of the job. Once you get a better grip on that, you will start to have more self confidence. Students are like sharks, if they smell fear, they pounce on it and this can make your job hell.
    On the up side, you survived your first year so you get will through this as well, and this time you are better equipped because the experience you have the last 3 years will serve you well.
  7. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

    Aug 29, 2006
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    Oct 11, 2017

    I teach upper level HS Language Arts and have a major spelling ...issue. I own it from day one and remind my students that being innately lousy at something doesn't excuse it. I have to constantly look words up and they catch my mistakes almost weekly. They love it and when an occasional student asks me how on earth I was hired I tell them I honestly have no idea, but possibly because I am brilliant enough to know my weak points and can prepare accordingly. I actually feel like reflection is what makes us strong teachers and strong students. Innate ability - not so much. And if my students are "smarter" than me? Moment to celebrate. I agree with those that said work on your math. Don't freak out about it though. Just keep learning - and allow yourself to make mistakes, own them - you are modeling learning!
  8. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

    Aug 30, 2007
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    Oct 13, 2017

    The chances that your teaching ability has actually declined are pretty small. Without knowing a lot of the details, I suspect it's more likely you're improving our are about to improve.

    The reason you feel like a first-year teacher could be because you're more aware of what's wrong and the need to fix it. This is an important but uncomfortable step to be able to progress. If you were in your tenth year teaching I don't think this would be likely, but in your fourth it definitely seems possible.

    So consider this a period of growth. Though stressful, you'll come out of it stronger if you do the right things-- continue to reach out to other teachers for advice, continue working on the things you have difficulty with, and continue to manage your level of stress.

    That's my theory, anyway.
  9. Numberspell

    Numberspell Rookie

    Nov 22, 2017
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    Nov 22, 2017

    You are still in the "new teacher" mindset. It takes about 10 years to really get settled in a "typical" career. I put an emphasis on "typical" because you must remind yourself that you are not in a "typical" career. In fact one of the favorite sayings of a veteran teacher I know is: "change is the only constant in education." At first it sounds silly, but she is so right! New policies, half-baked policies, possible policies, old policies, meetings, professional development, old acronyms, new acronyms...catch the pattern here?

    You just happen to still care about your teaching ability and the outcomes of your students which is phenomenal. I have seen teachers that don't even last a semester at a school or substitutes that don't last a whole day!

    Stick with what you know, do what works, and occasionally along the way try something new. But remember this old adage, "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
    creativemonster likes this.

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